The Milwaukee Brewers have found their next starting catcher and it comes from an early morning trade a few days before the Winter Meetings.
After Yasmani Grandal signed with the Chicago White Sox, it became obvious to all of us that the Milwaukee Brewers were going to need a new catcher before next season began. Even though we do love Manny Pina, trusting him to be the regular everyday starting catcher given his limited offensive ability, just didn’t seem like the best course.
So, GM David Stearns tried to find a replacement, and the catching market in free agency moved fast this year. Before you could blink Grandal, Travis D’Arnaud, Yan Gomes, and most other starting quality options signed elsewhere. With few options remaining in free agency, Stearns looked at the trade route.
When looking to make a trade, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto is always going to a good guy to call. “Dealin’ Dipoto” has made way more trades than “Slingin’ Stearns” over the past few years and is always ready for another.
What Was The Trade?
According to the reports, the Brewers sent minor league pitcher Adam Hill and their 2020 Competitive Balance Round B Draft pick.
The Brewers were just awarded that draft pick yesterday. If you remember, last year, the Brewers traded their Competitive Balance pick as well in a deal for reliever Alex Claudio, who was just non-tendered.
Adam Hill goes in return to Seattle. The Brewers originally acquired Hill last offseason as part of the return package for Keon Broxton. Now he’s able to give us Omar Narvaez. Somehow, David Stearns turned Keon Broxton, who was just let go by Seattle, into Omar Narvaez. That’s amazing.
In his first and only season in the Brewers system, Hill pitched in 26 games, starting 23 of them, for the Low-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and posted a 3.92 ERA over 121.2 innings pitched.
Who Is Omar Narvaez?
The Brewers new catcher is known throughout the league as a very good hitter, but a poor defender. The 27 year old hit .278/.353/.460 with Seattle in 2019 and had 22 home runs to go along with 55 RBIs. For reference sake, Grandal hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 home runs.
With a slight decrease in power and extra-base ability and a lower walk rate, the Brewers are getting a catcher that gets base hits more often than Grandal. Narvaez is also a left-handed hitter, and Miller Park is very friendly to left handed hitters with some pop in their bats.
Defensively, Narvaez will be a step down from Grandal. He’s nowhere near as good of a pitch framer and struggles in general behind the plate. Hopefully the Brewers can help him learn how to perform better on that end moving forward as they try to replace Grandal’s offensive production.
Omar Narvaez’s Contract Status
In exchange for Adam Hill and the draft pick, the Brewers will have contractual control over Narvaez for three years. Narvaez is entering his first year of arbitration, which is likely why Seattle was ready to trade him, and is projected to earn $2.9MM in 2020.
It’s looking like Narvaez will the Brewers starting catcher moving forward for the next couple of seasons. Now that the catcher spot is taken care of, Stearns can move on to one of the other items on his agenda.
Overall this is a solid trade for the Brewers. It didn’t cost them much in terms of prospects, although I do hate losing that early draft pick two years in a row, and it nets them a starting player for the next few years. Grandal’s offense has been replaced and now it’s time to keep moving forward.